“This wonderful book is enlightening and entertaining in equal measure. It makes a valuable contribution by bringing Oedipus to geneticists and genetics to lovers of literature, joining narratives from different times and disciplines and, in doing so, helping us to reflect on what it means to be human.”
— Kathryn Asbury, University of York, UK
“This book is a masterful and riveting re-examination, through the lens of modern genomic science, of the most fundamental issues inherent in the human condition. It is a joy to read!"
— Richard M. Kohn, Principal, Goldberg Kohn Ltd., Past Board Chair, Brain Research Foundation, USA
This book explores the answers to fundamental questions about the human mind and human behaviour with the help of two ancient texts. The first is Oedipus Rex (Oedipus Tyrannus) by Sophocles, written in the 5th century BCE. The second is human DNA, with its origins around 4 billion years ago, and continuously revised by chance and evolution. With Sophocles as a guide, the authors take a journey into the Genomic era, an age marked by ever expanding insights into the human genome. Over the course of this journey, the book explores themes of free will, fate, and chance; prediction, misinterpretation, and the burden that comes with knowledge of the future; self-fulfilling and self-defeating prophecies; the forces that contribute to similarities and differences among people; roots and lineage; and the judgement of oneself and others.
Using Oedipus Rex as its lens, this novel work provides an engaging overview of behavioural genetics that demonstrates its relevance across the humanities and the social and life sciences. It will appeal in particular to students and scholars of genetics, education, psychology, sociology, and law.
Yulia Kovas is Professor of Genetics and Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK and Visiting Professor at New York University London, UK; Tomsk State University, Russia; and other universities. She is director and advisor of several international research laboratories.
Fatos Selita is an English Barrister and a New York State Attorney and Counselor at Law. He is Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK and Tomsk State University, Russia, and Visiting Lecturer at other universities.